I've been on a long business trip ever since March 20th, going from city to city and now writing from St. Louis.
One of the things I realized during this trip is that I need to write more, and that writing is important to me. It's been a very long time since I've done any writing other than emailing for work or writing technical documents. Writing freely, from imagination, is such a privilege, and going on this trip has made me look back at my life back home and wonder how I've strayed so far from doing any significant creative writing.
During my trip I visited an old friend of mine in Connecticut, Don Newton, and it was really from the conversations I had with him that I was inspired to revive my writing.
I first met Don in San Francisco, the day before the two of us, along with about twenty other folks, embarked on a long journey to China to start our service with the Peace Corps. As I write these words, I can't help but think of how far away I am from the life I once led, the feelings and thoughts that ran through me back then. Going to China was such a bold move, a step into the unknown, a decision that was based on my appetite to see a part of the world that I knew very little about. My two years in the Peace Corps capped off a five-year period when I explored much of the world, having made long trips to Egypt, Southern Africa, Europe, and Korea, before committing myself to a much longer stay in China. It was a period of time when I felt so much more connected to the rest of the world, a time when the entire world felt like home to me.
The life I lived during those five years, where I spent most of that time outside of the United States, is a life that my friend Don has lived for about the last twenty years. Don has spent considerable years in China, at least ten if I'm not mistaken, and followed this with five or six years on the island of Curacao. He is someone who has come in and out of my life since China; after Peace Corps, I visited him for a couple of days when he was living in Shenzhen, then saw him at a fellow Peace Corps volunteer's wedding out in Philly, then he visited me out in San Francisco, and after I got married last year, my wife and I took our honeymoon in Curacao, where we spent some of that time visiting Don, who managed the cottage we stayed at.
Reconnecting with Don in Connecticut provided for a nice break in my business trip. We just hung out, spent time at the Connecticut River and at some old train station ruins where Don used to romp around as a teenager, ate some good food, and just talked. Don was going through some tough personal times, but he was still the same good friend and person, spending time in his hometown to help take care of his mom while planning for his next big move abroad. Spending time with him made me take a step outside of myself and reflect, which made me realize that I've been out of touch with the writer in me. He straight up asked me if I was still writing anymore, told me to never stop, and at the end of each day I couldn't wait to get back to his mom's house and start writing.
I pulled out an old story of mine and started at it again, quickly realizing how long it had been, and how difficult it is to get back in the swing of things. The longer I'm away from writing, the more difficult it is to simply put words together to convey what I want to convey. But, the more words I write the more I loosen up, and this first blog post on Redroom is simply a way of warming up, letting the words flow, and paying a little tribute to a good friend.